A fine line. As this years race played out, and now replays in my mind the fine line became a reoccurring theme for me. The trail on the map is a fine line; the line is clear and smooth as it traces its path across the state or Alaska. Well I am here to tell you in real life a fine line need not be easy nor smooth, in fact they rarely are. But that fine line comes up time and time again this year. A fine line between alert and asleep as I traveled the many miles on minimal rest. Fine line between comfortable and prickly being outside in the elements for hours on end. And it is a fine line that separates the roller coaster ride of emotional highs and lows you experience over the course of 1000 miles. Not to mention the fine line between sane and not so, that each March mushers find ourselves questioning which side we fall on.
The line reaches its destination in Nome, and so did we. Despite some challenges (Not just 1 but 2 broken runners! really?) and less then ideal trail conditions in places (Kelley Griffin writes, “With the crazy warm weather on the 2013 Iditarod, and the soft, deteriorating, slush and grabby, grindy, bottomless sugar snow along the entire 1000 miles, the Iditarod became very physically demanding!”) I am happy to report that 9 strong happy dogs and I made it to Nome. For 2 of them, Thistle and Ribdon, it was there first 1000 mile race, and for everyone but Orchid it was their first time under the burled arch. For the past few years I have had the luxury of running a team of experienced race dogs on Iditarod. But this year was different, I went into the race with the responsibility of making sure these young dogs had a positive experience that would prepare them for years to come. I knew it would be a challenge, and this year did not disappoint. I also knew it would be an adventure & opportunity, spiked with extremes, and played out in one of the most gorgeous places on earth. Again I was not disappointed.
Before I begin sharing with you my tails from the trail~
Mush Thanks must be given to the amazing companies & people who make up Team Dew Claw, and the Checkpoint Sponsors. I may be traveling alone out there, but this is absolutely a team effort. Dan and I are very grateful for the continued encouragement and support! Along with many wonderful friends and family Team Dew Claw was joined this year by returning team members: Halliburton, Usibelli Coal Mine, TJ’s LandClearing, Bailey Farms, Neos Overshoes & Intuition Liners. We were also very pleased to be joined this year by ManMat, our team proudly wears ManMat distance harnesses; we depend on the quality and rely on the performance. So many people came together to make this year possible, and I am very thankful to you all for helping make this years adventure possible. And thank you to my photographer friends who generously shared their photos* with me.
*Please note all work is copyright protected.
And even though they will never read this, and are more interested in getting fed and pet I still want to take a minute and publicly thank my kids, the amazing dogs of Dew Claw who joined me for the 2013 Iditarod. I Love My Dogs!!!